Sunday, July 17, 2022

Part 2: Finished Dress with Ruffles - BurdaStyle 05/2022 # 102

Here's my finished dress and I am really happy with the combination of fabric and pattern. Sometimes that just works out perfectly and this is such a case.  Plus this post is something of a two for the price of one - you get a look at my garden project which has been taking up a lot of my time this year. It might not look all that different but like any project there's a lot going, and I will include more details below. 

But back to sewing - this fabric is a woven rayon challis that I ordered from Fabric-Mart, maybe last year? I really liked the color and was waiting for a suitable pattern to use.  In my last post you can see the pattern details with pictures from the May Burda magazine issue. Also in that post I wrote a bit about doing fit adjustments on this pattern. 

Orange dress shorter1

It was all finished and I took a few pictures, then looking at those decided I didn't like the length. In the right style longer skirts and dresses are something that look nice but every time I make one for myself I never feel comfortable. I like dresses to hover around the knee, either just above or below.   So these dress form pictures are the longer length and then above it has been hemmed about 4" shorter.

Orange dress front and back

I have a feeling that some people might prefer it longer but I prefer the shorter. Over the years things I have posted that were longer people seem to like and make comments to that effect which I find interesting - but we have to be comfortable in our clothes and I prefer a different proportion. 

Here's a look at the longer length. 

Orange dress longer1

I also went back and forth on adding the ruffles which is an option in the pattern, but the fabric was so nice and soft so it seemed like it suited the style well, and I'm glad I did. Without the ruffles it's just a basic shirtdress. 

Orange dress closeup

As I mentioned in the previous post, I did cover an existing belt to make the belt for this dress. I didn't have any belt backing in my stash of this width (1.25") which I thought was the right width for this style. So I rummaged in the closet to find a belt that I could use, and found one that I've never worn but it was just right. Well actually just right would have been a lighter color buckle but this worked out well enough. 

I made eyelets on my sewing machine for the holes and then stitched it on by hand starting at that end. Then another eyelet at the end for the tongue of the buckle to fit into, hand stitching it closed along the length of the belt. I made an extra loop and stitched that about 3 inches away from the buckle as belts without that always look messy to me. I know the inside of the belt doesn't look perfect but I don't mind at all if the inside is messy when it looks fine on the outside. 

orange dress belt

Another change to the pattern was to add pockets, of course. A shirtdress with no pockets - unthinkable! I like to have slippery lining type fabric for my pockets so I don't usually use the same fabric. If you look at the side seam you can see on the back of the pocket I put a facing using the dress fabric so you don't get a glimpse of the lining when wearing. 

Pocket inside orange dress

Side by side comparison of the dress at different lengths. I will say that the longer one on the left is not looking too bad in the image but I think the breeze is doing a bit of work there. 

orange dress comparison

I actually took more photos the first time, prior to shortening. Here's another one. See I think that hem lands at the wrong place, it looks too 1950's for my style plus I prefer the proportion of more leg. Well, that's why we sew  - to get just what we want, right?  Also this is a bit of a blank area in the garden, covered with mulch. I have to resist putting plants everywhere as the ones I've already planted are going to get bigger and take up space, plus this time of year is too hot and dry to start them off. 

Orange dress longer 2

Looking at that picture I think I've reached the limit of my home haircutting ability. Yes I'm still doing it myself - some months it comes out better than others. I was just thinking of going back to a hairdresser but then the urge overtook me this morning and I cut it myself with a good result. 

Orange dress shorter2

So that's the latest on this rayon shirtdress. Up next - I just started another version of my very modified Myosotis dress so that will be great for hot weather. Looking at that post you can see the garden in the before stage. 

I'm teaching some in person classes here in the east bay and I will write about upcoming ones in my next post. I just got a really cute vintage t-shirt pattern which is perfect for the Color Blocking challenge on IG via @sewover50 so I'd like to get that sewn up this month. 

A few notes about the garden update. My water company offered a rebate for removing lawns, and cutting back on water using landscaping. Being that all the existing irrigation system front and back were very much past their prime it needed to be reworked. After being at home for the last two years I could water as needed but here a timer is essential to water before 6 am and also to be able to go away for longer than a day. So that was the impetus to update everything. The front is still a work in progress but there my lawn area is gone and will be replaced with more succulents, a rock river and a lot of penstemon and salvia for color. In the back we took out the grass completely, made it a bit smaller in area, and replaced the grass with Kurapia which is a low-water use ground-cover. So far it's working out well but I think it takes some getting used to. Also you have to wait a while before mowing it down to be a low ground-cover so it looks a bit unruly or as I call it fluffy, right now. 
The crepe myrtle trees stayed (of course) as well as the roses, hydrangeas and all the existing salvias. I planted quite a few new salvias and penstemon, plus some slightly exotic pelargoniums, some dusty miller to lighten things up, and then a few foxgloves that I had been growing in pots. And a few petunias for instant color. Some daisies in one area and a couple of gardenias which I will call vintage but seem happy enough to put out plenty of flowers. The salvias and penstemon will fill out nicely by next year and be really pretty as well as loved by the hummingbirds. I have three albutilons in the back in different colors and they are lovely as well. Plants are a bit like fabric, it's very challenging to resist buying them when you see them but then when you get home you have to find somewhere to put them! 

Orange dress shorter3

"Should I buy more plants or more fabric?" is what I'm thinking in that picture. 

Speaking of finding spots to store fabric, next week I'm going to Britex with my friend Heather - so let the fall sewing planning commence :)

Happy Sewing,

Here's today's garden pictures, two of them. First is a close up of the Kurapia groundcover which grows laterally once it is mowed and settles in, but until then it's flowering and covered with bees. Which don't bother me at all, I'm so used to them and we ignore each other for the most part. (now wasps - they are the enemy along with gophers, racoons and other burrowing nemeses.)  Second is a look at my newest Albutilon (which is a flowering maple, member of the Mallow family) in a lovely peachy pink. I think it's in a nice spot and should get about 8 feet high in a couple of years. 


pink ablution

Saturday, July 2, 2022

With Ruffles: Part 1 Fitting - BurdaStyle 05/2022 # 102

So much for my resolution to blog more this year, but now that summer is here and I have some free time I hope to get back to it. I've been busy teaching classes at a couple of local quilt shops that wanted to expand into garment classes. But my big project has been necessitated by the climate - we are in our third year of extreme drought, and prior to that in the last ten years we have only had a couple with plenty of rain. It looks like this is state of things now and all our water districts in N. California are urging people to change their landscaping to use less water. I was happy to do it and lessen my water bill, plus all the irrigation fixtures were at the point of needing replacement. Here's a little look at the work in progress. 


Working with the existing footprint I have changed out the lawn for a drought tolerant groundcover, and then put in a bunch of low water use plants in the back. The front is still a work in progress but that will be more hardscape, with succulents and salvias.  This picture was taken at the end of May so as of today the hydrangeas are fully covered in blooms and it looks so nice. 

Back to sewing - along with many other subscribers had noticed the number of repeat patterns in the recent Burda magazines. It doesn't bother me as I generally find at least one (sometimes up to 5) patterns per issue to sew and I don't have a big backlog of magazines. I expect that with the pandemic their output is reduced and I am just happy that the magazine keeps arriving every month. 

When I saw the preview of the May issue I was interested in the dress on the cover so that was what I traced right away.

Burda mag cover05-2022

I had the perfect fabric in my stash, a rayon woven that I ordered last summer? from Fabric Mart. Here's a sneak peek of the finished dress. This is part one of this dress and I will follow up with finished photos.

Orange dress collar

As I was making it I really debated on whether or not to add the ruffles but without it that would just be a very basic shirtdress. And the one on the cover of the magazine is so cute!

Here's the technical drawing for this dress. It has a slightly cut in shoulder (my fav) but also a low armhole (not my fave). The skirt is both pleated and then gathered, which works nicely in a very lightweight fabric like woven rayon but wouldn't be suitable for anything thicker. 

Orange dress tech drawing
Time to talk about fit. I know it might actually take more time, be more work but I like to adjust the pattern and perhaps add a bit extra, and then take away when I sew the side seams or attach the skirt. 

Here are the front and back bodice pieces, which I have traced at size 38, my usual Burda starting size. That is similar to a size 12 in Vogue/McCalls/Simplicity.

Noted on the image are the adjustments that I did to the original size 38 pattern pieces. 

Pattern Adj on paper orange dress

- lengthen at Center back 1/2"
- add length center front 2"  note I make the addition of length match up at the side seams
- lower dart 1/2"
- raise underarm about 1.5"
- added to the shoulder seam length about 1/2" outer edge so not quite so narrow.
- add on side seams, about 1" at top and closer to 2" at waist. This will be too much but I like to fit on my body.

Once I had cut out and sewed up the placket/ruffle on the front bodice, and then sewed the shoulder seams, attached the collar, it was ready to fit on me. Actually I do use a dress form which I have "sculpted" that matches my measurements fairly closely for the initial pinning. If you click over to this post for my red coat and scroll down you will see the coat pattern piece pinned to the dress from, which is wearing a color blocked dress I made ages ago. That dress has a great fit, a defined waist and thus is ideal for keeping on the dress form to use as a comparison. 

Once I had tried it on and done a little basting of seams I came up with a fit that I liked. It's difficult to show those adjustments but I think this photo below illustrates it. The pink dotted line is about where I ended up sewing the dress bodice. 

Pattern Adj final on paper orange dress

So I kept the armholes raised. Moved the armhole edge a bit closer to pattern original at top of shoulder. Used only about 1/4" of the added back length, and only 1" of the added center front length, tapering to match the back at the side seam. Used the original side seam at the underarm, and gradually added about 2" on either side at the waist. 
What that tells me is that I was overly generous with my additions - but I like to have room to fit and keep the amount of ease that looks right for the style and fabric. 

Here's the illustration from the magazine, I shortened the skirt by about 4 inches. This was a good pattern to choose as it's the pattern shaded in pink - super easy to trace. 

Instruction page Burda mag orange dr

Lastly I thought it needed a real belt. I had a good chat with Laura Mae at the last Bay Area Sewists meetup (our first in person in two years, a pattern swap) and we talked about how hard it is to find some sewing supplies that used to be basics. In this case I was rummaging in my stash for 1.25" wide belt backing, and didn't have any of that width. I have some narrow and wider, but I think 1.25" wide looks just right on dress so I guess I used up what I had. It doesn't seem to be available here in the bay area. I have a couple of old belt making kits so I guess I will hoard them and use with discretion. Perhaps it's available in NY? I should post a photo of what I mean, will do that in part 2 of this dress.

Which meant I needed to get creative, so I found this belt in my closet which was a knock-off someone gave me ages ago, and it was just right for covering with the fabric. I made some eyelet buttonholes for the holes and then hand sewed the fabric over the existing belt.

Belt making for orange Burda dress

I will say that the inside is not the most beautiful workmanship but it holds together and the price was right!

Belt on orange dress

Up next some pictures of the finished dress and a start of another summer dress. 

Meanwhile I will continue on the never-ending garden project. Actually it has to finish this month as I applied for a rebate from the water district so there is a due date. You have to show your completed work. Sounds like school!

Happy Summer Sewing and I hope everyone has a relaxing and safe holiday weekend. 


today's garden photo, this Spanish lavender which appeared in 2 places in my yard. A complete mystery as I did have a scraggly purple flowered one which is long gone. Sometimes volunteer plants are the good kind :) 

white lavender 2022